|Stravinsky & Balanchine
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Ilan Volkov
Hyperion CDA 67698 [73 mins]
Stravinsky - Apollon Musagète & Pulcinella Suite
Linn CKD330 [54 mins]
Two more CDs of Stravinsky/Balanchine ballet music. The Hyperion selection is the more useful, with three important scores, whereas Linn's has the Suite (only) of Pulcinella; I greatly prefer the full ballet, with vocalists, and at 54 minutes Linn offers short measure, even with their SACD etc potential, which most of us don't have facilities to enjoy...
Volkov gives reliable accounts and is well recorded in Glasgow's City Halls, and it has been great to hear again, and together, these fine scores which are not given that often.
But I take this opportunity to deplore the quite bizarre lack on DVD of the great Balanchine ballets of mainly neo-classic Stravinsky. Their association was one of the most fruitful of all artistic relationships. "Beginning with their initial meeting in 1926, a binding covenant quickly developed, a union that would connect them personally and professionally for the rest of their lives. In Balanchine's eyes, Stravinsky was a colossus, the "Orpheus of the twentieth century". Even as a young ballet student Georgi Balanchivadze was immediately drawn to Stravinsky's vibrant music. By the time of his death in 1983, he had choreographed many of the composer's most important works" [New York Times].
Exploring our frustrations, we have discovered and bought two valuable DVDs about George Balanchine, both including excerpts from videos of performances, quantities of which must lie in archives somewhere?
Balanchine [American Masters DVD D2448] is a fairly conventional biographical documentary chiefly valuable for the archive clips.